Wall Street Journal (Illinois)
By Shibani Mahtani
May 23, 2017
CHICAGO—Chicago is embarking on a public-service campaign celebrating and welcoming immigrants to the city, one of the boldest moves yet by a sanctuary city.
The campaign features billboards around the city welcoming immigrants and a new website that points immigrants to city resources, including legal assistance, mental health care and information on how to become a citizen. The website also provides information on Chicago’s municipal identification program, which will be launched at the end of the year and enables all city residents regardless of federal status to acquire an identification card that they can use to access a range of services.
“If [immigrants] are isolated and nobody stands up for them, they can be picked on,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a Democrat, whose grandfather came to the U.S. at age 13 without speaking a word of English. “The person picking on them now is the government.”
Mr. Emanuel has joined other mayors in sanctuary cities in resisting federal calls to get tougher on illegal immigrants, promising to legally challenge the Trump administration if it moves to withhold federal funding based on their openness to immigrants.
The Justice Department in April pointed to Chicago and New York as jurisdictions that are “crumbling under the weight of illegal immigration and violent crime” and have warned jurisdictions that they cannot withhold information on immigrants from federal agencies.
Cities have argued that they comply with federal agencies in criminal investigations involving immigrants, but generally bar their police departments from asking about a person’s immigration status.
On Monday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions took steps toward narrowing the definition of sanctuary cities to those that bar officials from communicating with federal authorities over immigrations. By that definition, cities, including Chicago, are in compliance.
“We are on firm legal ground, and firm moral ground,” Mr. Emanuel said. The narrower definition, he adds, “is an acknowledgment that they overshot the runway.”
Still, the city wants to stress that it actively welcomes immigrants. Stories of migrants to the city will be featured on more than 200 sites across Chicago, including billboards, newsstands and bus shelters. The campaign’s logo will also be posted on libraries, storefronts and other locations.
For more information, go to: www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com